How to Choose a Dog Trainer: The Complete Guide for New Owners

Did you know that 8% of dog owners use a professional while only 5% try to train their pet themselves? While the number of dogs that get structured training is low, this does not make it unnecessary.

If you are wondering if and how you should train your dog then using a dog trainer might be your best option. However, not all trainers are alike and, in some cases, might not suit your expectations.

Read on to find out how to choose a dog trainer that is best for you and your pet.

Verify Certification

Just about anyone can start a business and train dogs. However, you want to look for a certified dog trainer that has the credentials to understand the psychology of animals and the proper, safe way to train them.

They could hold any number of educational merits from places like the Certification Council For Professional Dog Trainers or the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Further education includes a bachelor’s degree such as in Animal Health and Behavior.

Education is not the only part of a qualified trainer. Having dog training experience gives them real-life knowledge of how to handle dogs, especially ones that are difficult.

Inquire About Their Methods

Your options for dog trainers should also include the type of methods and philosophies they use. For example, do they use reward-based training using dog training toys and treats? Or do they use punishment like slapping or shock collars to teach a dog to behave?

These methods should aline with your point of view and how you want your dog to be treated. The wrong type of training could also have negative effects on your pet.

Ask About Specialties

If your dog needs specific training for a particular behavioral issue then you want to find a trainer who has experience with it. For example, if your dog will not go to the bathroom outside or does not get along with other dogs you want someone who knows how to correct it.

Also, training large dogs takes more effort so not everyone in this field might accept dogs over a certain weight or even a type of breed.

Ask the trainer about any limitations regarding breed, size, or behavior before enrolling your dog.

Review References

It is best to look at references and reviews before picking a dog trainer. You want to know how other people reacted to their dog’s training and if it was effective.

If you know someone who used a trainer then ask them directly. Otherwise, you may need to look at online reviews or ask the trainer for a list of references.

Choose a Dog Trainer That Feels Right

Using your instinct to choose a dog trainer will help you find one that fits your dog’s personality. You know your dog best so try to find one that matches their demeanor and that fits your style of training.

Search our large selection of pet articles for more training tips that you can practice at home.